The seeds of suppression
Our youth must know the lies they are being sold in the name of information about Kashmir
Recently I appeared in a TV debate which unusually came up with an element of surprise. While the ex-armymen who have served in valley, defence experts, reputed journalists are a regular part of such shows but this time around children as old as 16 yrs appeared in the debate. Little do these children know how an anti Kashmir rhetoric is manufactured each day on these channels by using all means of belittling Kashmir as a nation and its people too. They were prepared by experts to justify civilian killings by army in Shopian in the guise of championing human rights for armed forces. Yes these kids were the siblings of serving army officers in valley so the element of personal affection was used to cover up excesses and present a myopic jaundiced picture to these psychologically fragile children. I didn’t debate much with these kids but was vocal enough to question their involvement in such narratives. Internationally so much is being done to keep children away from conflicts but here the media has become so blind that they violate the basic ethics of professional journalism. Recent survey had shown how lynching of Muslims on roads has translated to bullying of Muslim students in elite schools across top cities of India. An internationally acknowledged UN recognised dispute is being moulded upside down to highlight the oppressors narrative. I am sure if these kids ever come to Ground Zero they will fully agree to Amnesty International’s report card on valley which would not only shake their conscience but they would start disrespecting the fake news propaganda designed to control and kill Kashmiris seven decade old aspirations. Of late efforts to streamline child soldiers across sub Saharan Africa have attracted world attention but here in India this probably seems the first subtle effort to a forcible consent form children to continue excesses on unarmed civilians. Little do these children know how it feels when Ghalib Guroo didn’t get to meet his father before he was killed to satisfy national conscience. I have had the personal experience of non Kashmiris both national and foreigners literally cry once they become acquainted with the saga of rapes, killings and maimed psyche of Kashmiris. A French journalist recently landed up in jail for portraying human shield Farooq Dar’s story. Children are the hope of a nation, their minds are like blank papers and they ought to be filled with truth and reality, certainly not with the fake propaganda and a colonial imprint.
I request all liberal organizations to come to rescue of children and keep them away from becoming part of any oppression regime and system which in long run would mark a new low in designing a liberal prosperous secular India. Leftists, liberal and aspiring section of society which has already been silenced by ruling regime too have a moral responsibility to come to the rescue of these gullible kids.
In a country where strong narratives to overcome poverty, hunger, educational backwardness should have been manufactured, there is a trend of distraction over development. Child soldiers across North Eastern states range in thousands and their plight is among the worst on globe but media access has been groped to create a false notion of calm in these states.Annually millions including children die of starvation in India but again media fails to portray them. The epidemic of TB, malaria, diarrhoea due to improper hygiene and nutrition prevelant in children aged less than 6 yrs is one of the highest in India. Khap panchayats across many states run a system more powerful than Constitutional judiciary whose lopsided judgements ruin children and their hopes. Child beggars in India have although been a favourite subject of Bollywood movies but till date every thing seems cosmetic and nothing substantial to overcome it has been done. Child prostitution is a big challenge and hundreds of documentaries to highlight deeply knit Mafia behind the curtain too has fallen deaf to the ears of men in power.
In a country where food, shelter, health and education is still a dream for millions of children, these news channels would bring kids to portray them as first line defence for armed forces perpetuating worst human abuses in valley. This surely isn’t a physical torture but it does amount to maligning psyche and elucidates an emotional abuse. Post Iraq war american soldiers did commit suicide in thousands because their mind couldn’t resist the abuse their bodies had done on oppressed people. This indeed is a cowardice attempt of dragging children into war as if everything else back home is at peace.
The author is a renowned TV Debater